A photo of faculty member Nicole Paiement


  • New Music Ensemble


  • DMA, Eastman School of Music


  • Artistic Director, Opera Parallèle
  • Principal Guest Conductor, The Dallas Opera
  • Washington National Opera
  • Glimmerglass Opera


  • American Composer’s Forum “Champion of New Music Award"
  • Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor Chair at The Dallas Opera
  • Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship Award
  • Canada Council of the Arts

What is your hometown?

Montreal, QC

What is your favorite recording?

Ernest Ansermet - de Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat.

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Nature and poetry.

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

When I realized that I could combine my deep interest for architecture with my passion for music.

What was a turning point in your career?

Meeting Lou Harrison and Pierre Boulez.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be?

An architect.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Mozart, Britten, and Janáček.

What are your most important collaborations?

Working with Lou Harrison on the reconstruction of his opera, Young Caesar; completing over fifteen CD recordings of new works with Ensemble Parallèle; working with Joby Talbot and Gene Sheer on The Dallas Opera commission, Everest.

What are your academic publications?

Critical Edition of Lou Harrison’s Mass for Saint-Cecilia’s Day (G. Schirmer Edition)
Critical Edition of Lou Harrison’s Suite from the Marriage at the Eiffel Tower (G. Schirmer Edition)
Catalogue des oeuvres de Henri Collet (Montréal: Éditions St-Martin) 1998. ISBN 2-89035-312-5 (co-author with Jacinthe Harbec)

What recordings can we hear you on?

Chou Wen-chung: Windswept Peaks: Tribute to Chou Wen-chung; Ensemble Parallèle, Albany Records
Lou Harrison – In Memoriam. Includes world premiere recording of Mass for Saint-Cecilia’s Day; Sanctus; Pied Beauty; Elegy for Harpo Marx; Elegy; In Memory of Victor Towers. Recording also includes Solstice. Ensemble Parallèle and UCSC Chamber Singers, Kleos Records (Helicon)
The Class of Messiaen. Includes world premiere recordings of works by Michèle Reverdy, Qigang Chen, Tristan Murail, and Gilles Tremblay. Ensemble Parallèle, MSR Records
Tribute to Andrew Imbrie. Includes world premiere recording of Spring Fever and Reminiscence by Andrew Imbrie; Chaconne by John Harbison; RecitAndy by Mario Davidovsky; Orange Pastel by Hi-Kyung Kim; Inscape by Wayne Peterson; C.B. for Solo Cello (1972) by William O. Smith and Postcards by Robert Help. Ensemble Parallèle, Albany records
Dancing with Henry: Music of Henry Cowell, premiere recordings with Ensemble Parallèle of Atlantis, Heroic Dance, Dance of Works, Dance of Sports, and Suite. Mode Records

What is your unrealized project?

Conducting a staged version of Britten’s War Requiem.


Nicole Paiement has an international reputation as a conductor of contemporary music and opera. She is the Founder, Conductor and Artistic Director of Opera Parallèle in San Francisco and has helmed the world or American premiere of many new works. Under her baton, OP has earned rave reviews for its innovative work in opera. She is Principal Guest Conductor at The Dallas Opera where she also mentors for the Hart Institute for Women Conductors. Recent productions in Dallas include the American premiere of Van der Aa’s Sunken Garden, and the world premiere of Talbot’s Everest. In 2016, she was awarded the American Composer’s Forum “Champion of the New Music” Award for her outstanding contribution to New Music. As guest conductor, she recently appeared with The Washington National Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Seattle Opera. Upcoming engagements include debuts at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opéra de Montréal and the BBC Symphony at the Barbican London. In 2019, Paiement will also conduct the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s If I Were You with the Merola Opera Program.